Elizabeth Hanbury, author of “A Bright Particular Star”, “Ice Angel”, “The Paradise Will”, “The Cinderella Debutante”, “Brief Encounters”, “Midsummer Eve at Rookery End” and “Christmas At Rakehill Manor” answers 10 questions about her favorite time period in history, her favorite figures from history, and the age old question of coffee or tea.
1. If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?
2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
Rather than choose a single year, I’d go for the Regency period in Britain because even though the country was almost constantly at war it a time of great energy, immense social change and scientific advancement, and the start of the industrial revolution. Philanthropy was flourishing and in attempt to address the social ills of the day, hospitals, orphanages and Sunday Schools were founded. A new era of poetry dawned with the Romantic poets and Gainsborough, Turner, Reynolds and Constable were painting their masterpieces. Capability Brown was revolutionising garden design. Edmund Kean was performing on the London stage. Mary Wollstonecraft was advocating women’s rights. Edward Jenner, whose work is said to have “saved more lives than the work of any other human” was developing the smallpox vaccine. The Royal Society was formed and Sir Humphrey David, Michael Faraday and the other natural philosophers and astronomers of the day were pushing back the frontiers of scientific discovery. An exciting, vibrant time in history albeit one where poverty and social inequalities were a huge issue too.
3. You’re having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
Jane Austen, Duke of Wellington, George Bryan (Beau) Brummell, Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare
4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
Warwick Castle – it’s situated on the banks of the River Avon and, as medieval castles go, it was the height of luxury! It has amazing views over the English countryside.
5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you’d like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?
Georgette Heyer and Bernard Cornwell
6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?
I’d have to go for King Henry VIII although I’m not sure he could be described as dashing, especially in later life. His desire to provide England with a male heir brought about many changes including the dissolution of the Monasteries, the separation of the Church of England from papal authority. His contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive, educated and accomplished king. He was certainly a charismatic one.
7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
In historical terms, Anne Boleyn. She was intelligent, opinionated and courageous In an age where women had very little power or influence and were expected to be submissive and obedient.
8. English monarchy or French monarchy?
9. What three novels could you read over and over?
- PG Wodehouse – “Right Ho Jeeves”
- Georgette Heyer- “Venetia”
- Jane Austen- “Persuasion”
10. Tea or coffee when writing?
Tea, preferably Assam
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